Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle is attributing racism to your distress at former Illinois Sen. Carol Mosely-Braun being nominated as U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand. I know you are not a racist, Senator, and Daschle should be ashamed of himself for defecating on you the way he did. Your gripe with Mosely-Braun has to do with her opposition to the Confederate Flag being flown over state capitols in Dixie. When she opposed a renewal of the federal patent on the CSA flag to the ladies organization that maintains it, you rushed to a defense of the practice -- and I knew why you did. Several hundred thousand young men died for that flag, not because they were fighting on behalf of slavery, but because their leaders believed they had a right to secede from the union over a profound difference of opinion between North and South. Slavery just happened to be the precipitating issue. As Lincoln said, the union was the central issue, and if he could preserve it by freeing some, all or none of the slaves, he would do it. Senator Daschle is still a young man, with a shallow understanding of history and political philosophy. Give him a break.
And give Ms. Mosely-Braun a break. She doesn't look at the CSA flag as a tribute to the young men who gave their lives to a losing philosophy of governance, but almost as if it were a Nazi swastika that equilibrates with the KKK. She won her Senate seat because she had better sense than the Republican she defeated. She lost her Senate seat because she was not as sensitive as she might have been to a variety of issues she had to confront. She is, though, a good woman, so good that the people of Illinois picked her out of the millions of possibilities they had. You now criticize her for meeting with the late dictator of Nigeria, Colonel Abacha, but Pope John Paul II met with him two years ago. Don't use that as an excuse to hold up her nomination. Nor should you nitpick her expense accounts on her foreign travels. You know many white, male Senators of both parties have been generous to themselves over the years. I'd recommend you ask her to come to your office for a private chat, with no staff around, no reporters, and just talk about your differences. It would be a good thing to do.
P.S. Check with Senator Bob Bennett of Utah. When she came to the Senate as the first black female, Bob Bennett was practically the only member of either party to befriend her. Soften up, Jesse. You will get to Heaven anyway, but it will be a shorter trip if you show some understanding here.